To-pack list for travelling with a toddler

What would you pack if you are going on a trip WITH a 2YO toddler?

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Apart from the essentials like clothing, diapers (not toilet-trained yet!) and the like, there are some other stuff that I would specially pack for a trip. Those are items to {hopefully} engage a toddler who might get bored on a trip.

1. Storybooks

IMG_20141206_091203 One of the activities that Faith likes is reading and some routines should still remain no matter where we go. For every trip, we will bring along a few books and here’s one which I personally like. It’s a Bible storybook with puzzles for each story. Faith is still very much into puzzles and apart from reading, she can busy herself with fixing these puzzles.

2. Puzzles

IMG_20141206_095113These puzzles can get the little one to stay focused for a good while. Since she is learning about transportation at the moment, I brought along these few pieces which I borrowed from fellow mummies.

3. Busy bag

IMG_20141206_095510This is my busy bag which is always able to engage the little one for a slightly longer period of time. There are quite a few items in this bag even though it remains light and compact with all its contents.

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:: Stickers and sticker books which Faith loves and she could spend a great amount of time with them.

:: Colour pencils which she could use for the Christmas Joys activity book.

:: Balloons when she’s absolutely bored. So we could inflate one for her and play some games with it.

:: Paper clips which she could use to connect each one of them, something which she’s still trying to figure out.

:: Clothes pegs to practise her pincers grip (and she’s still frustrated by them)

:: Coloured shapes which she could use to make vehicles! Good for reinforcing colours and shapes.

:: Sponge animals in capsules, random stuff which I bought from Daiso.

4. Snacks

IMG_20141206_101420Who doesn’t love snacks? These stay in my carry-on bag because I need to give Faith something to chew when the plane ascends or descends. I have repacked them into smaller quantity because if you know the little girl, she could finish one big pack in a very short amount of time. I always get nervous when the plane is taxiing on the runway. Sometimes, the plane has to wait for an awfully long time (when the air traffic is heavy) before it’s able to take off and that’s when I have to dish out another bag for Faith since she would already have finished the previous bag.

I sealed the bags with tapes so that Faith could practise her grip when she’s removing them. The plastic bag seal clip is good as a tool to engage her too. 😉

5. Random toys

IMG_20141206_171447I don’t know when this happened but recently, Faith would want to hold some toys in her hands whenever we go out. So I thought these puppets, toy bus and animals would entertain her a bit. Good for pretend play too!

There you have it. These are my 5 main items to pack when travelling with a toddler. What’s yours?

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Melbourne : Royal Botanic Gardens

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Life has been so busy lately with playdates, baking and family outings that I couldn’t catch up with reminiscing the days in Melbourne through blog posts. I resolve to do that today!

The Royal Botanic Gardens is founded in 1846 and comprises 38 hectares of garden beds, lakes and lawns. A relaxing walk through the gardens can be rather uplifting to the soul especially with the cool weather in Melbourne. If you are into botany, you would be excited to know that the gardens is home to 52000 individual plants representing more than 10000 species from around the world.

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The hubs and I had a good time chatting as we strolled with Faith. The little one was running all over the place and her excitement was evident as she spotted some unique birds and their chirping. The Terrace, a cafe overlooking the Ornamental Lake to Government House, was our pit stop for the much needed caffeine fix.

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To be honest, the main reason for visiting the gardens is for Faith to explore the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden. When you travel with kid(s), it’s not all about the adults anymore, is it? ;p

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The Children’s Garden is good for kids of all ages and they get to discover the various plants at the kitchen garden and explore the vegetation of the rainforest ruin.

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I must say I find it delightful to explore the Children’s Garden but that’s just me. I know that as compared to the farm, Faith was more interested in animals than the plants but we did have a good walk around it.

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And you bet we made use of those moments to teach Faith about the fruits and vegetables found in this small garden. We don’t have the luxury of space to grow our own fruits or vegetables, so this is an opportunity not to be missed.

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We spent about an hour in this Children’s Garden, taking the time to explore and having Faith play at the water features. Generally it was fun and educational though I think older kids would enjoy it more. I didn’t dare to have Faith play with the soil; I don’t think she liked to do that too. We stopped by The Gardens Shop and purchased a book and some toys for the little one.

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Besides The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, there are also the Dinosaur gardens, educational programmes that are offered throughout the year from kindergarten to tertiary level and a checklist of 50 things to do at the Royal Botanic Gardens that one can get from the Visitor Centre. I have a copy of it and let’s just see if we can adapt some of them at our own Botanic Gardens! 😉

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Aww…writing this post makes me miss Melbourne and the lovely weather in June.

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😉

Melbourne : Philip Island day tour

Friends whom I have asked to recommend places to visit in Melbourne will definitely point me to Philip Island to watch the Penguin Parade. We put it down on our to-visit list and book a day tour when we were in Melbourne. Yup, that’s how we travel – very last minute, I know.

We booked the tour via this tour operator and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a mini bus to ourselves with about 20 people on board. We were picked up from our hotel and they also sent us back to our accommodation. I like such a service!

We travelled through the Gippsland region directly to Phillip Island and made our first stop at the Rhyll Trout & Bush Tucker Farm where we had our lunch and enjoyed a guided bush tucker tour.

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Then we meet the koalas at the Koala Conservation Centre. There were not a lot of koalas though but we were still ecstatic when we spotted those few. One bad thing about joining a tour group is that one might not be able to spend sufficient time in one attraction spot since the itinerary can be tight. I would very much love to read more about this marsupial via the gallery but we had to move on!

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Can you spot the koala?

To the delightful Phillip Island Winery where Faith had an awesome time chasing the older kids (she invited herself to the group) and the adults had a few sips of the wine.

Lovely green!

Lovely green!

Waiting for the wine sipping session!

Waiting for the wine sipping session!

Mother and daughter

Mother and daughter

We also made a stop at Point Grant and The Nobbies where we enjoyed views over Westernport Bay and Bass Strait, including Seal Rocks, home to Australia’s largest population of fur seals. It’s very windy here so we were clad in our down jackets.

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Lastly, it’s to the main attraction where we got up close to enjoy the Penguin Parade. It’s an amazing feeling, I assure you! We paid a little more to be on the viewing gallery that brings us closer to the penguins but it’s worth it. They came ashore at around 5.45pm that day and the parade lasted for about an hour. Faith slept through the first part because she was too tired from the tour but when she woke up, she was jumping with pure joy! Bliss!

We can’t take pics of the penguins but these count too?

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It was a long day indeed and we basically K.O. once we reached our hotel. But we really enjoyed this day tour. We missed the chocolate factory though so if you are going to do this on your own, visit on our behalf?

😉

Thursday Travels is a weekly column featuring sights and experiences from my wanderlust adventures, including staycations. These sweet memories need to be stored sand shared.